Triple Chocolate Granola

Humility aside, I think this is my best granola yet. And granola is my thing – you know that one dish you are awesome at making pretty much every single time. What makes this a standout is (1) the layered chocolate flavor coming from a triple hit of cacao from the raw cacao powder, cacao nibs and semi-sweet chocolate chunks, and (2) the extra crunchy pop of texture from the quinoa puffs. Sure it’s more dessert than breakfast, but you do get an antioxidant power up from all the cacao, sustained energy from the oats, and the mct benefits of coconut oil – not to mention the joy from enjoying something so delicious. Dive in!

Ingredients:

  1. Rolled oats – 2 cups
  2. Quinoa – 1/3 cup
  3. Coconut sugar – 1/3 cup
  4. Coconut oil – 1/2 cup
  5. Raw cacao powder – 1 tbsp
  6. Sea salt
  7. Cacao nibs – 1 tbsp
  8. Semi-sweet chocolate chunks (I like Enjoy Life brand) – 1/3 cup

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 320 and line a large baking tray with parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the rolled oats, quinoa and coconut sugar
  3. Separately, in a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil and cacao powder and warm over low heat until melted and combined (about 1 minute)
  4. Pour the coconut / cacao mixture into the large bowl with oats, quinoa and coconut sugar and stir well to combine. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. Taste the mixture dry and adjust to your liking – you may want to add a hint more coconut sugar if you want it sweeter.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes
  6. Once cool, top with cacao nibs and chocolate chunks and enjoy
Ingredients 1-6 combined and ready to transfer to parchment paper for baking
Enjoy with your fave non-dairy milk or on its own as a delicious snack!

Chocolate Covered Dates

I’ve always loved Medjool dates. Growing up in the Westwood area of Los Angeles where there is a sizable Persian community and many Middle Eastern grocery stores, my dad would always stock our house with the largest, moistest Medjool dates. Medjool dates are sweet enough on their own, but to take their decadence to the next level for an over the top sweet treat, I decided to stuff them w/ nut butter and coat them in chocolate. The result is an indulgent yet healthy(ish) sweet treat that I think is best enjoyed with coffee or espresso as an afternoon pick me up. They’re easy to make, look fancy and would be nice as a homemade gift as well. Enjoy!

Servings: 6 dates

Ingredients:

  1. 6 medjool dates
  2. Almond butter or nut butter of your choice – about 1-2 tbspn
  3. 1/2 cup of chocolate chips/ chunks or bar – I used vegan brand Hu chocolate gems
  4. Optional toppings: Coconut shreds, nuts, cacao nibs, sea salt

Directions:

  1. Open each medjool date and stuff it with nut butter as pictured below
  2. Put the stuffed dates in freezer for 10-15 minutes
  3. In a small saucepan on low heat, heat the chocolate and stir frequently. You should get a delicious melted chocolate in just about 1 minute.
  4. Line a plate or container with parchment paper
  5. With a fork (or with you hand but careful as the chocolate is hot), dip each stuffed date until it’s fully coated in the chocolate and place on parchment paper.
  6. Coat with toppings of your choice such as any nut, coconut shreds, seeds, cacao nibs etc.
  7. Place in fridge for 10-15 minutes for chocolate to set.
First step is to stuff the dates and briefly freeze before dipping in melted chocolate
Get creative with toppings! Add nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, cacao nibs and more!

Matcha Chocolate Chunk Granola

I’ve been making batches of this granola every day for the past week and it’s addictive. The naturally slight bitter taste of the matcha is balanced by the delicious sweet mix of maple syrup, coconut sugar and some chocolate chunks. It’s quick & easy to make and is great on its own as a snack, in a big bowl with non-dairy milk of your choice and it’s also delicious over vanilla ice cream (especially coconut dream).

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. Rolled Oats (not instant, GF if needed) – 2 cups
  2. Coconut sugar – 1/4 cup
  3. Virgin Coconut oil – 1/3 cup
  4. Maple syrup – 1/4 cup
  5. Matcha powder (recommend culinary grade since ceremonial is often a lot more expensive and not needed for baking -it’s easy to find on Amazon such as this one) – 1 tbpsn
  6. Chocolate chunks (recommend Enjoy Life mega chunks) – 1/3 cup
  7. Optional: 1/3 cup raw nuts of your choice – I’ve tried with both almonds and walnuts and both have been great, Pecans would likely be delicious too.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 340 and line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil
  2. In a large mixing bowl, place the dry ingredients: rolled oats and coconut sugar. If you are adding optional nuts, add them to this bowl too.
  3. In a small saucepan, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and matcha and warm over low-medium heat until the coconut oil is fully melted and matcha is fully mixed in too (about 2 min). Stir a few times while it’s warming. Once warm, pour this mixture over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Stir well so the oats are evenly coated in this sweet coconut oily matcha mixture.
  4. Transfer the coated oats to parchment paper and spread oats evenly in one layer.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and let cool. Add chocolate chunks once cool.

Notes:

  1. 1 tbspn of matcha powder may seem like a little but it’s a lot b/c it’s a concentrated tea powder – this will allow the matcha green tea flavor to shine through even after baking. If you want a subtler green tea flavor, try less
  2. If you add the chocolate too soon it will melt into the hot granola, but that’s okay and in fact even tasty as once it cools down these will form delicious chocolatey granola clusters

Truffle beet hummus

I recently hosted my first plant-based potluck of 2019, an event I’m hoping to do once a month with friends and family, and this truffle beet hummus was a hit.   The surprising trick to this hummus is the beet flavor is actually from organic beet powder (vs. roasted beets) so you can make this really quickly.  I’ve been pairing it with Simple Mills crackers – both w/ the Everything flavor and w/ the classic almond flour crackers.  For some added nutrition and flavor, I top it off with some micro-greens for a healthy and somewhat sophisticated snack.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  1. One can of organic garbanzo beans
  2. One garlic clove
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup organic beetroot powder
  5. 2 tbpsn tahini
  6. A few squeezes of lemon
  7. 1 tbspn of truffle oil
  8. Himalayan sea salt

Directions:  

  1. Drain garbanzo beans and place in food processor.  Add ingredients 2-7 and pulse until you get to creamy consistency.  If it’s thicker than you like it, try adding 1/4 cup of water to get to desired creamy thickness.
  2. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and sea salt.  Optional: top with some micro-greens for a pop of extra color and flavor.

Bliss Balls with a Ginger Twist

While I was recently traveling in Portugal with my husband, our dear friends, Sugar and Shwa were house sitting for us and caring of our garden, and not only did they take amazing care of our home, but upon returning I was gifted a massive bag of homemade crystallized ginger.  Sugar, also known as Ilana, has been a dear friend of mine since we were 14, and she and I have both been big ginger lovers for as long as I can remember so she knew I would love this.  Inspired by this generous heap of delicious ginger candy, I made classic bliss balls but with a ginger twist, and these are now my favorite bliss balls that I’ve made.  These can be a sweet energizing treat for you, or given it’s mother’s day, it’s an easy gift to make for your mama too!  I like to store these in the fridge and have them before work outs.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
Bliss Balls:
1. 1 cups of dates (I used honey dates, other date varietals work well too) soaked for 1-2 hours in water to soften
2. 3/4 cup of walnuts
3. 1/4 cup of crystallized ginger
3. 1 tbspn unrefined coconut oil (preferably raw & virgin too)
4. 1 capful of vanilla extract
5. A few sprinkles of cinnamon 
Coating:  You can really get creative w/ the coating – they key is to have ingredients that are dry and ideally not to sweet so they can cut the sweetness of the date balls.  Great coatings include chopped/ processed nuts, seeds (e.g. hemp, chia, etc.), unsweetened diced coconut chips, and raw cacao nibs.  I also like to take all of the above and mix it up, which is what I did here:
1. 1 cup of walnuts, almonds or pecans – processed in food processor until in very small chunks (not all the way to powder)
2. 1/4 cup of hemp seeds
3. 1/4 cup of raw cacao
4. 1/4 cup of raw unsweetened coconut chips
Directions:
1. Take all the bliss balls ingredients and process in food processor until all ingredients form one large ball of dough-like consistency.   Transfer from food processor to a large plate.
2.  Process the nuts for the coating.  For the coating you can then choose to mix the nuts with the other ingredients like I did in a bowl or choose to keep separate and make bliss balls w/ unique topping.  
3.  On a large plate, take small chunks of the date dough and form into about a quarter sized ball, and then roll the date ball into the dry coating of your choice.  Continue this process and you should get about 15 date ginger bliss balls 🙂
And a shoutout to the lovely Sugar, my fellow ginger lover and a dear friend for life, who inspired this recipe.  

Coco Oil Fried Maitake Mushroom topped Hummus

I recently was reading a book on health benefits of mushrooms, and upon reading about Maitakes, I loved learning that these are considered ‘dancing mushrooms’ due to ancient lore that monks stumbled upon maitakes in a forest and were so overjoyed by these beauties that they starting dancing with abandon.   I get it.  Maitakes can make you dance.  They are these gorgeous, delicate mushrooms that crisp easily when fried and can make so many dishes elegant and more ‘dancy’.  For those local to the Bay Area, Far West Fungi, which has a home in the Ferry Building and is at so many farmer’s markets (w/ steep discounts at the Friday Chinatown Oakland farmer’s market) offers excellent Maitakes.  This time I fried them in coconut oil with a dash of Bragg’s amino acids and topped them on a classic Hummus recipe.  We ate it both as a dip and on toasted whole wheat walnut bread.  Enjoy + happy dancing!

Ingredients for hummus:
1. 1 can (organic) garbanzo beans, drained
2. 1 garlic clove
3. Tahini – 1/4 cup
4. Olive oil – 1/4 cup
5. Sea salt to your liking
6. Optional – dash of cumin

Ingredients – Fried Maitakes:
1. 1/2 cup of Maitake
2. 1 tbspn of coconut oil
3. Dash of Bragg’s amino acid

Directions:
 1.  For the Hummus, place all  hummus ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth (tip: I have tried to make this in my Vitamix too but food processor is much easier).
2. For the fried maitake toppers, heat a skillet with coconut oil and once hot add a dash of Bragg’s amino acids (if you don’t have this, you can replace with a few sprinkles of salt).  Once hot, add the maitakes and fry  on medium heat until crisped (about a few minutes).
3. Top the hummus with the maitakes and enjoy! Serve with crackers, toast, veggies, etc.

 

Lemony Coconut Fried Brussels Sprouts

Before joining the SF Women’s march yesterday and taking part in a historic outpouring of support in the name of equal rights, inclusivity, kindness, decency, healthcare access and more, I made some vegan comfort food to nourish body & soul both given the somber political environment as well as the continued cold, wet, rainy SF weather.  Specifically, I tried frying brussels sprouts in coconut oil (vs. my usual method of baking in olive oil), and I also made some twice baked sweet potatoes topped w/ Dang coconut chips and walnuts (that recipe coming soon!).  Here I share both the quick & easy recipe for Lemony Coconut Brussels Sprouts, inspired from this NYT recipe that I adapted, and some photos from yesterday’s inspiring and important Women’s march.

Ingredients:
1. Brussels sprouts, sliced in half – 1 cup
2. Organic coconut oil – 1/4 cup
3. Lemon, 1 slice
4. Sea salt

Directions:
1. In a medium to large skillet, heat coconut oil on medium to high heat for a couple of minutes.  Once piping hot, place the brussels sprouts face down on medium heat and allow them to get brown.
2. Skirt lemon slice directly into the skillet if you’d like to impart a lemony flavor (otherwise okay to keep simple with just coco oil and salt). 
3. Once browned and starting to get tender (~4-5 min), flip over and allow to cook through on other side.  Sprinkle w/ sea salt.
4. Taste one and see if it’s got that melt-in-your-mouth tender, deliciously coconut oily texture.  If still too hard, cook longer on lower heat setting to tenderize.

So let’s continue to be extra aware of the need for self care right now and care for others.  Love, tolerance, decency, and fundamental kindness is the answer. And I’ll leave with you one of my favorite Rumi quotes, which I rediscovered this weekend, and prompts us to think about in our individual and collective ‘tailor shops’ what are we sewing / building towards?  

“Spend the spark of iron on the stone. Sit at the head of the table; dip your spoon in the bowl. Seat yourself next to your joy and have your awakened soul pour wine…You’re the tailor, settled among his shop goods, quietly sewing.”- Rumi

Chocolate Mint Granola (Holy Cacao!)

‘Tis the season for chocolate peppermint everything– including granola.  The sweet and minty breakfast/ 
snack is all organic, vegan and loaded with the superfood powers of raw cacao and coconut oil.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1. 2 cups of rolled oats (For this version, I used Trader Joe’s gluten free oats but you can use any that aren’t quick cook)
2. 1/2 cup of organic, virgin unrefined coconut oil
3. 1/2 cup of maple syrup
4. 1/4 cup of raw cacao
5. Organic peppermint extract – a couple of capfuls (go light – a little goes a long way w/ extract!)
6. 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
7. Sea salt
8. Optional: raw cacao nibs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Places the oats in a baking pan
3. In a small saucepan heat ingredients #2-5 and stir until you get a delicious liquidy, minty hot chocolate sauce.  Once all the coconut and cacao is well melted and mixed, pour the chocolate sauce over the oats and stir to coat the oats evenly in the decadent chocolate sauce.
4. Add the coconut sugar, stir again and top w/ some sea salt sprinkles to give it that delicious sweet/ salty taste.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes and at the halfway point toss around.
6. Let cool and options to top include raw cacao nibs and/or coconut chips.

Grilled Artichoke Hummus

So right off the bat I’ll admit that while it may look like I was laboring to grill up the artichokes, the secret is much simpler: Trader Joe’s has delicious marinated artichokes that I blend into a classic hummus base. The result is thick, creamy, delicious and decidedly spring/ summery artichoke infused hummus.

Ingredients:
1. One can garbanzo beans (preferably organic)
2. 1 garlic clove
3. 2-3 grilled artichokes marinated in oil (I use Trader Joe’s version)
4. 1/3 cup tahini  (For those who live in San Francisco, Samiramis in the Mission has the best tahini and they are so friendly)
5. 1/3 cup of olive oil
6. Sea salt- a few sprinkles
7. Cumin – a few sprinkles
8. Optional: Lemon


Directions: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until you get to desired consistency.  Garnish with diced artichokes on top.

Enjoy with veggies, crackers, toast, etc. I had this on whole wheat toast with avocado and it was delicious!

Rosemary Sweet Potatoes with Maple Tahini dipping sauce

This has been one of my classics that I’ve been making since college. It’s super simple with sweet potatoes, garlic, onion and rosemary, paired with a sweet and salty, creamy, tahini-based dipping sauce for a healthy snack or a mini meal.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (for about 5 servings:
Sweet Potatoes:
1. 5 sweet potatoes
2. 1-2 rosemary sprigs (If anyone lives in SF and needs some, we have an abundant bush and happy to give some away!)
3. 1 garlic clove
4. 1 small red onion
5. Olive oil
6. Salt


Tahini Sauce:
1.5 tbspn tahini
2. 1 tbspn maple syrup
3. Sea salt to taste

Directions:
1. In a large pot boil water and once boiling, submerge the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes.  This will cook them through only partially and will make them easier to slice into wedges and you won’t need to bake as long.
2. Once cooked, slice the sweet potatoes into wedges and put these in a baking pan. 
3. Toss all other ingredients — onion, garlic, rosemary — in the baking pan and generously drizzle some olive oil on top, and add some salt sprinkles on top as well.
4. Bake at 375 for ~50 min.  At the midpoint toss around to prevent some pieces from burning.

Sauce:
To make the sauce, in a small mixing bowl combine the tahini and maple syrup.  Add just a touch of salt . Optional: If this is too sweet for you and you want to balance out the sweetness, 1 tbspn of garlic olive oil will mellow out the sweet profile.